Welcome from the Wellesley Students’ Aid Society!
The Wellesley Students’ Aid Society, Inc. (WSAS) has a rich heritage dating back to the founding of Wellesley College and the belief that all women should have access to education regardless of means. Founded in 1878 for the purpose of providing funds for women who could not afford a Wellesley education, WSAS was incorporated as an independent nonprofit in 1916, giving it the flexibility to provide aid when and where students need it most.
Nearly two-thirds of all Wellesley students receive some form of help from WSAS in the form of tuition grants and loans, emergency funds for students facing unforeseen difficulties, textbook support for all students on financial aid, and short-term, no-interest loans. Through the generous contributions of alumnae and friends, we are able to distribute more than $1 million each year to support students from all walks of life.
We hope you will take the time to explore this site to learn more about WSAS and to discover ways in which you can help us in our mission to provide assistance to Wellesley’s amazing students.
A message from our Acting President, Milena Mareva '01
Dear Friends of WSAS,
Having served as Vice President over the past seven years, I’ve been honored to share in the leadership of the WSAS Board of Directors. In June 2020, the Board asked me to step into the role of Acting President and to support our President, Jamie Ann Sabino ’75. It is a privilege to address you from this perspective.
The past few months have brought unprecedented challenges to our daily lives and to the lives of Wellesley students. On March 12, Wellesley College made a historic announcement regarding the move to online instruction and asked students to return to their homes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Soon after, WSAS received an urgent request for support from the College. The Board took an immediate vote and just hours after the request, the Society had granted $50,000 to the College to meet emergency student needs.
For those of us on campus, the stress that engulfed our students was palpable and their questions, urgent: “How will I be able to pay for my trip home?” “What will I do if I can’t go home?” “How will I afford my expenses if I can no longer work on campus?” In this emotionally charged moment, WSAS felt honored to be able to step in and offer vital support for the Wellesley student community.
As spring progressed, the WSAS emergency grant supported students who were struggling with unexpected expenses and lost income. Pledged funds to the College were augmented with donations to the WSAS Emergency Fund for Students and other Society resources. Driven by its mission and your generosity, WSAS was able to fill a gap between the College’s own generous support and the tremendous student needs that arose from the pandemic. During this historic crisis, WSAS’s financial strength, nimbleness, and interconnectedness with the College made us an essential partner in supporting student needs.
As a member of the WSAS Board for over a decade, I’ve been able to appreciate the breadth and depth of support the Society offers Wellesley students. In my day job as a Wellesley admission officer, I observe firsthand the growing socioeconomic diversity of our student body. Alongside the College’s diversity milestones—18% first-generation students and over 20% Pell Grant–eligible students in our entering classes—WSAS has reached a milestone in pledging $1.2 million for students’ financial aid packages, including $600,000 each in tuition grants and loans. This past year, WSAS also provided more than $250,000 in direct aid to students and some $50,000 in Student Services Grants administered by Wellesley College departments to support student health and wellness, job training, and a range of other needs.
As we prepare to welcome students back to campus, we want to extend our gratitude to you: the alumnae, faculty, family members, friends, and students who make our work possible. We anticipate a high level of ongoing and unexpected needs this year, and we thank you in advance for your continuing financial support. Your commitment allows us to continue to make a difference in the lives of Wellesley students through initiatives that are broad in scope, as well as individually focused. In this moment more than ever, we believe that our WSAS community will empower us to prevail over the challenges that lie ahead and to continue strengthening the support system that will help this generation of Wellesley women succeed.
Milena Mareva ’01
WSAS Acting President